Lee Taylor Walker Named TCU Women's Tennis Head Coach
June 10, 2014
MEMPHIS - -
After helping the Memphis women’s tennis team cap the 2013-14 season ranked No. 41 in the country, Lee Taylor Walker has been named the women’s tennis coach at TCU it was announced Tuesday.
“We are happy for the opportunity which lies ahead for Lee Taylor and his wife Erin at TCU as he continues to build his legacy as a talented collegiate tennis coach,” Athletics Director Tom Bowen said. “He has done an exceptional job building the University of Memphis program in to one of national prominence. We are proud of his accomplishments here and are sad to see one of our former student-athletes, as well as a member of our Athletic Hall of Fame, depart for another position.”
Walker took over the University of Memphis women’s tennis team prior to the 2007 season after spending three seasons as an assistant coach on the men’s team and one as an assistant with the Lady Tigers’ team.
In 2011-2012, Walker guided the Lady Tigers to their first winning record since 2003. That started a four-year stretch that saw the Lady Tigers go a combined 64-31 under Walker. In 2012, Memphis would break in to the national rankings, where they have spent a better part of the last two seasons. The team ranked as high as No. 22 in the country (Mar. 26, 2013) and ended each of the last two seasons among the national rankings in collegiate women’s tennis.
In seven seasons, Walker coached 10 different Lady Tigers to all-conference honors, including four-time all-conference honoree Courtney Collins, who capped her career ranked second in program history with 95 singles victories and became the first Lady Tiger in school history to qualify for the NCAA Singles Championship. Walker also guided three-time all-conference honoree Ashley Murdock, two-time honoree Tiffany Welcher and 2013-14 freshmen Anki Wind and Marta Morga to all-conference honors. Wind and Morga were named to The American Athletic conference list of honorees after helping the Lady Tigers to a second straight conference semifinal tournament appearance.
Under Walker’s guidance, Memphis made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2013. After advancing to the conference semifinals, Memphis received an at-large bid to the NCAA field and upended No. 21 ranked Florida State, 4-1, in the NCAA First Round before falling at No. 9 ranked Alabama, 4-0, in the second round. Walker was named the ITA/Ohio Valley Region Coach of the Year at the end of the season.
"I will forever be grateful to Tom Bowen, RC Johnson, and Lynn Parkes for giving me the opportunity to coach here at my alma mater the last 10 years,” Walker said. “What makes Memphis such a great city, university and athletic department are the people. There are countless people who have given their time and energy to help me and (men’s tennis coach) Paul (Goebel) build these teams into a first class program. And I will try to appropriately thank each one of them in the coming weeks. This team is in great shape and will be a national contender for many years to come. Erin and I are excited about this new chapter in moving to TCU and trying to build there what we were fortunate to be a part of here. It will be incredibly difficult for us to leave the current and future members of the team, as they are like family to us. I will miss them dearly, but I will be excited to watch them excel next season."
A three-time letterwinner, Walker played for Memphis from 2001-04, teaming with current assistant coach Ben Stapp in his first season in doubles. At that point, the duo became the highest-ranked doubles tandem in school history, ranking No. 12 in the country at the end of the 2001 fall season. Walker was also a nationally-ranked singles player, climbing as high as No. 48 in the country. For his career, he won 54 singles matches playing primarily at No. 1 and 2 singles during his three-year Tiger career. He was 64-29 for his Memphis career in doubles and was the school’s first Conference USA first team honoree. He was named to the C-USA Men’s Tennis All-Decade Team (1995-2005), and in the fall of 2013, was inducted to the M Club Hall of Fame.
Married to former Lady Tiger soccer player Erin May Ferris, Walker received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Memphis. He takes over a TCU program that capped 2014 as the No. 53 ranked program in the country and was 12-12 last season.
Memphis will begin a search for a women’s tennis coach immediately. The Lady Tiger tennis program capped the 2014 season as the No. 41 ranked team in the country after a 14-9 campaign that featured 15 matches against nationally-ranked opponents. Playing out of The Racquet Club of Memphis, the women’s program is currently on a 39-home match winning streak and will open next spring’s dual season against Furman in the Duke pod of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.